With the right plan, any gap can be bridged.
On May 6, 2012, a disaster struck the French city of Bayonne when a bridge under construction slipped off of its piers and into the river below. Mammoet was asked for a swift solution to salvage the crippled bridge blocking the waterway. Less than four weeks after Mammoet got the call, the bridge spans were removed from the site. Within another five weeks, Mammoet had reinstalled the bridge.
After the accident, one end of the 360-ton bridge was resting on the pier and the other on the riverbed. The structure wasn’t just obstructing shipping traffic – it was also about to slide against the old bridge. We had to move fast.
The day after the contract was signed, Mammoet began clearing the incident site. First, the bridge was secured using winches and slings. That same day, a large semi-submersible vessel set course from Rotterdam to Bayonne. Its cargo: two floating sheerlegs and one tug. The pontoon and another second tug were already on their way.
After the equipment arrived in Bayonne, Mammoet dismantled several parts to allow clearance under three fixed bridges on the way to the accident site. Once on location, two floating sheerlegs were used to lift the bridge onto the pontoon within three days after the crew got there. The bridge was then surveyed and repaired on the pontoon.
The client then commissioned Mammoet to reinstall the bridge. A new array of equipment was shipped in and five weeks after the request, the new railway bridge was safely locked into place.
What started out as a salvage operation turned into a construction job. With a total turnaround time of just nine weeks, Mammoet successfully recovered and reinstalled the collapsed bridge.
Rapid response time and the flexibility to transport the right equipment wherever needed made this operation a textbook example of how the right plan can solve any crisis.